Johnstown Town Board doing its job
Regarding Kelly Bradt’s letter to the editor published March 6, claiming Johnstown’s Town Board is apparently trying to “destroy the highway department” and “‘punish’ them by taking away overtime pay.” She states: “The highway department has the only employees who work all hours of the day, night and weekends, including holidays.”
Ms. Bradt, a lot of people serve the public, keeping them safe, whose jobs require these things – police, fire, corrections officers, 911 operators, EMTs, etc. They do it in jobs more dangerous, demanding and stressful; some put their lives on the line every time they report for work. Their overtime can come with little or no notice, no weather forecast to warn them. In an emergency, their shift doesn’t end because the clock says it’s quitting time. They remain on duty, working OT whether they want to or not. This means missing family activities, canceling plans last minute and all the time, not just in bad weather. When is the last time a highway worker missed a graduation, picnic, wedding, etc. because they had to plow? Yes, no one really likes it, but if these sacrifices are too much, then get an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday job.
No overtime? Maybe they should be happy to have a job. Your comments are an insult not just to those mentioned above, but to every worker whose job requires these sacrifices: ambulance workers, hospital, nursing home, Lexington personnel, just to name a few. And don’t forget the volunteer firemen, EMTs and first responders who get no compensation, let alone overtime, yet are available any time of the night and day.
As for your husband “working 24 hours a day,” people in positions of authority often do. It’s usually called a promotion with a higher salary and fringe benefits. In emergencies, some people – police officers, firemen, corrections officers, etc. – if called, are required to report for duty. Day or night, regardless of whether or not it is their day off, they must report. I guess that means they “work 24 hours a day” too.
Overtime is an issue and probably always will be. It is expensive and a burden for taxpayers. If the Town Board is finding a way to cut overtime maybe it’s not punishment, but just them doing the job we elected them to do.